Your body's biological clock becomes so confused with shift work to the extent where it cannot tell when it should let your sleep and when to wake you up. Even though you will not find a magic plan that works for everyone, these proven strategies will help you get a good night's sleep. Here is how you should go about your day if you do shift work on a regular basis.
#1. Get your partner on board!
Shift work affects your entire family. Your partner should be educated on the increased household tasks and parental responsibilities that he/she may have to undertake as a result of your shift work.
#2. Give the body a three-day warning!
When you have to undertake a major change in your work schedule, make sure you begin to alter your sleep and wake up time at least three days in advance. For example, say your normal shift is 4:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. and you plan to move to a 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. schedule. If you were accustomed to sleeping from 4:00 to 12:00 a.m., you need to postpone your sleep time from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. This should be performed on the first day of the transition. On the second day, postpone the bedtime from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Day 3 should be from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. On day 4, you begin your new shift from 12:00 to 8:00 a.m. You can sleep from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m every day after that.
#3. Maintain a schedule!
Maintain the same sleep-wake schedule on the work days as well as your off days. This was revealed by Kar-Ming Lo, M.D. (a sleep specialist). It helps the body understand when you need to sleep and when you need to be awake.
#4. Work clockwise!
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that you ask your manager to schedule your shift so that the new one starts later than the previous shift. This is very important when you are rotating shifts. For example, if you finished the 3:00 to 11:00 p.m. shift, you can sleep better and be on alert when the next shift you are supposed to work is 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
#5. Get outdoors!
Make sure you get outdoors once you wake up. Sit for a few minutes in the sun and take a walk. The sun will alter your biological clock and let you know that it is time to be alert.
#6. Better Bed
A better bedroom and bed could be the key to a better night’s rest and really make a big difference to the quality of your sleep. Investing in a new mattress like these from Choose Mattress could be the key to better rest and a fresher you.
#7. Get a pickup!
More than 70% of shift workers have reported feeling drowsy after the shift. In fact, drowsy driving has resulted in 2,100 serious injuries and 400 deaths in Canada each year. Hire a cab or have someone better rested than you pick you up after the shift.
#8. Make sleep a family effort!
Dr. Lo tells to discuss your sleep requirements with your family and kids. Ask them not to come into the room unless it is an emergency. Make sure to tell them what is an emergency and what is not.
#9. Stick to Perrier!
If you need a refreshment, make sure to have Perrier instead of alcohol. Although alcohol may seem to induce sleep more quickly, it actually disrupts your sleep later in the night. You get less sleep as a result.
#10. Forget the quick fix!
Although many people may tell you that there is a fix, you will not find any quick fix for the problem. Valerian, which is being used as a sleep aid for generations, has done nothing to fix the problem so far. Even though its sales has reached over one-million dollars a year, 37 sleep studies reveal that Valerian doesn't do a thing